How do you stand out for God?
Write it down and share with the group. You could write a poem or use that thought in some way to remind you.
Major Alison Thompson heads up the International Response Unit for The Salvation Army. When Alison was asked this question ‘What does it mean to stand out for God?’ here was her reply. ‘For me this means standing
up for those who are the most vulnerable. It means helping people to live with dignity and how those who have been affected by conflict and disaster can achieve this.’
Ask yourselves the same question:
What does it mean to you to stand out for God?
Now discuss what the word ‘vulnerable’ means to you.
Major Lorraine O’Neil believes that we need to change the image of what ‘church’ is to people in society. Lorraine believes ‘It is time for us to stop adding things to programme and time to change our mind-set in order that the church of Jesus Christ will be properly equipped to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world.’
We must not be ‘Sunday’ Christians giving a segment of ourselves when we are in the company of other Christians, but whole-life disciples, being Jesus every day no matter where or who we are with. Often fear takes over when it comes to standing out for God but God says,
How will people hear about Jesus if we do not take time to tell them? What about those in the Doctor’s surgery, the supermarket, at the bus stop or perhaps more importantly our own family or friends?
Lorraine recalls, ‘One day I decided that I needed to frequent the same coffee shop. I got to know the staff and they got to recognise me. One day I plucked up the courage to say that I and the church I belonged to wanted to pray for the coffee shop employees and the community around them. I told them that they served us well and in turn we wanted as a church to serve them through prayer. The gentleman behind the counter said “how lovely” with a big smile and went to fetch his father, the owner of the coffee shop. The father came and told me how thankful he was that we were prepared to pray for not only the coffee shop but the community also. He asked that we pray for relationships and for people to stop being so self-centred and more “bothered” about others.
So that’s what we did and the coffee shop started to overflow with customers who found a place of ‘togetherness’ in those walls. When returning to the coffee shop one day the young gentleman I had initially spoken to said, “Lorraine, have you seen what’s happening? Your prayers are working!” He then brought two members of staff from the kitchen joyfully exclaiming that “this is the lady who prays for us”.’
Both Alison and Lorraine speak about ‘others’; people who are very different from one another; people from war-torn countries, people working day to day, people living insular lives, but all these people having one thing in common. They were all touched by the power of prayer.
‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’
J F Kennedy
Standing out for God can be difficult and frightening, especially if there are people with a different outlook. However we do not live in isolation, but rather we are part of society and our voice will count.
Think of a time when you stood out for God.
What was it like, how did it feel?
Are you able to recognise how God sustained and strengthened you? Claim that power once again.
What can you do from this point to bring out the ‘God-colours’ in this world? E.g. offering to pray for someone; not going along with the crowd in conversation; signing a petition against human trafficking, etc.
I would be true, for there are those who trust me;
I would be pure, for there are those who care;
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
I would be brave, for there is much to dare.
I would be friend of all – the foe, the friendless;
I would be giving, and forget the gift;
I would be humble, for I know my weakness;
I would look up, and laugh and love and lift.
I would be faithful through each passing moment;
I would be constantly in touch with God;
I would be strong to follow where he leads me;
I would have faith to keep the path Christ trod. Amen